Wednesday, 20 of June of 2018

Economics. Explained.  

Consumer Confidence

April 24, 2018

The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence rose 1.8 points in April to 128.7 after having declined 3.0 points in March.   The February level of 130.0 was an 18-year high (highest since November 2000 — 132.6).

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board said, “Confidence levels remain strong and suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the months ahead.”

Confidence data reported by the Conference Board are roughly matched by the University of Michigan’s series on consumer sentiment.   As shown in the chart below, trends in the two series are identical but there can be month-to-month deviations.   Any way you slice it, confidence remains at levels not seen since the early 2000’s.

The consumer should continue to provide support for overall GDP growth in 2018.  The stock market is once again approaching a record high level.  Home prices continue to climb.  Consumer net worth is at a record high level and rising.  Jobs are rising by about 200 thousand per month.  The unemployment rate is falling slowly. The consumer has little debt.  Interest rates remain low.  In addition, consumers will get a cut in income tax rates in 2018.  Clearly, the consumer’s optimism is valid.

We anticipate GDP growth of 2.8% in 2018.

Stephen Slifer


Charleston, SC

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